SUCCESS STORY: Mitsubishi Chemical Performance Polymers

Reliable customer delivery times, reduced stress: DELMIA Ortems planning solution appeals to Mitsubishi Chemical Performance Polymers

Since the historic manufacture and production of shoe soles, MCPP France, a subsidiary of the Japanese group Mitsubishi Chemical, has diversified considerably to become one of the market leaders in the manufacture of thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) products in advanced sectors. The company is now focusing on the DELMIA Ortems planning solution to define a single interdepartmental planning repository and improve productivity.

An international influence

The MCPP group has developed a network of production sites in the United States, Brazil, Asia Pacific and Germany and relies on three large units in Poland and especially in France (2). MCPP France is the largest manufacturing site in the world within MCPP. The sectors covered by the MCPP group concern the automotive industry (airbag covers, seals, etc.), which is the leading market with a turnover of around 60% of the total activity. But also the building industry (shutters, pool covers), packaging, cable, consumer goods and medical.

Looking for a simple and collaborative scheduling and planning solution interfaced with SAP

To have a better visibility on production planning while simplifying the organization, requires a questioning of processes and work habits. MCPP France was looking for a simple and collaborative scheduling and planning solution that would be interfaced with SAP to obtain a single schedule combining the TPE and PVC activities. The solution was also intended to optimize the reliability of planning over a period of more than two weeks, to anticipate seasonality and workload reliably in order to meet delivery dates while promoting the relationship between the company’s various departments.

MCPP France was facing difficulties in the optimal management of production rates due to the conduct of two parallel business activities, TPE and PVC. Two wall plannings were required to manage these two activities, resulting in two daily manual data updates with SAP.

“Until recently, we were working on a wall planning with small paper cards that were flewing away, falling and sometimes were not even processed. You can assume the loss of time and the consequences following late deliveries or forgotten production,” says Frédéric Gaborieau, in charge of TPE Market Planning at MCPP France.

These wall and manual plannings were difficult to manage because the volume was large and it was difficult to postpone the schedule during unexpected events or last minute orders. Planners were always looking back at the planning and had trouble being proactive.

The manual production schedules, therefore unreliable, were only mastered by two experts: Frédéric Gaborieau, TPE production planning manager and Daniel Brosset, PVC production planning manager.

The main difficulties with manual planning were as follows:

  • A waste of time due to the schedule changes management for the following weeks with an impact on the production deadlines
  • Lack of flexibility to integrate a new order into the planning
  • A lack of visibility to anticipate seasonality
  • A tedious management of raw materials due to the absence of an interface with SAP.

“Controlling manufacturing deadlines and reducing cycle times are at the heart of our daily concerns,” explains Christophe Delafosse, IT manager at MCPP France. “Poland has its own planning tool and there is no identical information system in Europe; we cannot rely on a single common reference model to date, which complicates data management for MCPP Europe”. Planning issues that take into account production constraints in complex industrial fields are crucial to remain among the leaders of the TPE.

DELMIA Ortems: A collaborative solution and a single repository

Everyone now has visibility into the planning that allows them to formalize the flows. A more collaborative organization puts everyone in agreement because MCPP controls its planning. Improved quality and reduced stress creates a better interdepartmental relationship.

Efficiency and responsiveness are increased within the various purchasing, supply, production, logistics, IT and sales teams. “We now save 50% of our time spent only on the phone between trade and supplies,” says Frédéric Gaborieau. For example, the workshop manager can now anticipate his workload and anticipate his material and staff needs. And this is all the more crucial as it takes at least 3 weeks to train an operator.  From now on, alerts on shortage can be used to optimize orders in advance.

The DELMIA Ortems solution quickly made a real breakthrough within the company. “It’s much easier to plan, it’s visual and the solution has an excellent interface with SAP, which saves us a lot of time, knowing that we can manage 150 sheets per TPE machine. Now impact management is under control and we can enhance grouping our orders together: we have a tool that helps us make decisions,” says Frédéric Gaborieau.

Time savings are significant and immediate. DELMIA Ortems optimally schedules orders to reduce machine cleaning times between two productions. In addition, the solution, by reorganizing their production campaigns, makes it possible to limit the number of changes and optimize preparation times, cleaning and series times.  The interface with SAP makes it possible to anticipate raw material shortages.

The implementation of the planning solution thus makes it possible to take into account orders for the next six months.

“DELMIA Ortems plans clearly and optimally. As a result, the replacement by the backup of the planner is simpler and more serene, which generates a considerable reduction in our stress at work,” adds Frédéric Gaborieau.

Substantial productivity gains

“We estimate our time savings to be around 25%. Each planner thus saves two to three hours a day and can consider developing his missions in the short and medium term. We can work with a reliable planning for each of our two activities TPE and PVC and this, with a better visibility”, notes Christophe Delafosse.

This better visibility on the planning also allows anticipation of the next steps with a significant increase in productivity. A more collegial and transverse relationship between employees is a source of greater reliability in terms of meeting delivery dates.

The change naturally took place within the Sales Administration department, which manages its working methods differently. The sales department now enters the delivery time given to the customer as soon as the order is placed, with a positive impact on the time management of the sales teams.

Improve cash flow

The transition to the new planning processes was clear and smooth. The launch of the new interface replaced the wall planning without any problem, all employees immediately joined it and particularly the workshop manager.

“The installation of DELMIA Ortems in our factory in Poland would allow us to have a global planning since we manufacture the same products as in France,” says Christophe Delafosse.  The MCPP projections also express a financial dimension. “The implementation of a reporting tool to enhance impact measurement of the plant’s management is the next step that MCPP plans to take with DELMIA Ortems.  Thanks to this solution, we could even reduce our inventories and thus have a better management of our cash flow. »

A fast ROI in less than 10 months

The implementation of this DELMIA Ortems production scheduling and planning solution was a real success due to the strong involvement of the MCPP and DELMIA Ortems teams. “We worked hand in hand with real solution experts,” says Christophe Delafosse.

The operational deployment of the solution took less than 10 months. “And even then, we had to put this project on standby for 3 months to manage another priority,” observes Ludovic Georget, supply chain manager.

The specification and optimization phases went well overall… “to such an extent that only 2 days after the launch, we decided to get the wall panel whereas we thought we would keep it in back-up for one month,” says Frédéric Gaborieau.

“And finally, the project is continuing with a very efficient team of TMA Ortems, which always provides an answer and regularly offers us new opportunities for improvement,” concludes Christophe Delafosse.

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